Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Wessex Cancer Trust in fundraising race for survival

Wessex Cancer Trust shop Image copyright Google
Image caption The trust said its shop sales were down 15% in 2019

A cancer charity says it will have to close or drastically reduce its services unless it is able to raise £600,000 by the end of January.

Wessex Cancer Trust, which helps cancer patients in Dorset, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, says demand is growing but income has reduced dramatically.

It said a large bequest had also been delayed in the probate process.

A message on the trust's website says: "This is not a Christmas appeal or a planned campaign, it is a last resort."

The trust said a 30% increase in demand in 2019 along with a 65% reduction in bequests and a 15% drop in shop sales had tipped it into a crisis situation.

CEO Cait Allen said: "Normally in a year we expect to help around 11,000 people. We've had unprecedented demand this year and the key thing is we don't turn anyone away."

Nurse Elizabeth Lazell turned to the charity after being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010 and, since recovering, has retrained to help patients with lymphoedema - a condition that causes swelling, sometimes brought on by cancer treatment.

She said: "When I walked into the Bournemouth centre, I was so struck by how incredible the environment was.

"I was offered free treatments such as acupuncture, counselling, reiki and complementary therapies, but at that stage they didn't have a lymphoedema specialist so that's why I thought, I want to go back and offer this service.

"It would be such a incredible loss to the community if Wessex Cancer Trust had to close its doors.

"It would mean people who need the service... would be suffering alone and not knowing what to do."

Ms Allen said the trustees were due to meet in a month to discuss the financial security of the trust.

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